October 15, 2010

Server Virtualization: Branching Out of the Data Center

Some technologies, like some seeds, take longer to germinate than others. And even after they do, market conditions dictate how far and how fast they grow. Virtualization has had such a long period of dormancy, finally taking firm root in the late 1990s when VMware made it available for Intel x86 architecture (x86) servers. By 2009, according to Gartner, 16 percent of all x86 data center server workloads were running on virtualized hardware. Gartner predicts that by the end of 2012, this number will grow to 50 percent.

The rapid growth of server virtualization outside the corporate data center is another indicator of the technology's appeal. Cloud-based services, virtual desktops, and virtualized disaster recovery sites are all made possible by server virtualization. Increasingly, the virtualization technology is also finding its way into the branch office.

Server consolidation, energy savings, and rapid server provisioning are the main benefits of bringing virtualization into the branch office. However, to get the most value, the use cases for the technology must reflect the distinct requirements of remote locations. The goal of this document is to (1) compare and contrast data center and branch office environments in the context of server virtualization, (2) describe how server virtualization addresses specific branch-office challenges, (3) explain how the technology unlocks new capabilities in the branch office, and (4) provide a brief overview of a joint VMware and Cisco server virtualization solution for the branch office.

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1 Comment

Virtualization in the data center is becoming a well-understood and widely-deployed part of the overall IT strategy. However, the question remains whether these same benefits can be applied to the branch office.

This is an excellent, detailed paper that explains both the advantages of and the architecture for adopting a virtualized environment in the data center. A "must read."

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